UPSC Indian Polity and Civics The Union Judiciary Notes - Judiciary

Notes - Judiciary

Category : UPSC





The Indian Judicial System is one of the oldest legal 'systems m the world today. federal system of government, the Constitution has provided for the setting up of a single integrated system of courts to administrator both Union and State laws.

The above simple Flowchart illustrates sub-ordinate courts- both Civil and Criminal courts - at (i) Metropolitan and (ii) District levels. Besides, it illustrates the hierarchy in terms of (i) Labor Courts and (ii) Family Courts together with specialized tribunals.

However, if required, the hierarchy can be illustrated in a different manner for those who want to have the structure by (i) Civil Courts at (a) Metropolitan and (b) District levels and (ii) Criminal Courts at (a) Metropolitan and (b) District levels, i.e.




Union Judiciary

Supreme Court (Articles 124-147)

The Supreme Court of India was inaugurated on January 28, 1950. It succeeded the Federal Court of India, established under the Government of India Act of 1935.

Article 124 to 147 in part V of the Constitution deal with me organisation, independence, jurisdiction, powers, procedures and so on of the Supreme Court. The Parliament is also authorised to regulate them.

Supreme Court is the final interpreter and guardian of our Constitution. It is also the guardian of Fundamental rights of the people.

It decides the disputes between Centre and States regarding encroachment of power, thus maintains the supremacy of the Constitution.

It is the highest court of appeal in India.

Originally the total number of judges was 7, but in 1977, their number was increased to 18. In 1986, it was further raised to 26 (including CJI). Presently there are 31 Judges in Supreme court.

Constitution does not provide for minimum no. of judges who will constitute a bench for hearing cases. Largest bench constituted so far has been of 13 judges in Keshavanand Bharati vs. Union of India case in 1973.



Appointment and Removal of Judges

Qualifications to be appointed as a judge of Supreme Court:

He must be a citizen of India.

He must either be a distinguished jurist, or one who has been a High Court judge for at least 5 years or an advocate of a High Court (or 2 or more such courts in succession) for at least 10 years (Article 124).

No minimum age is fixed for the appointment of a judge. The Chief Justice of India is appointed by the President. In this matter, the President shall consult such judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts as he may deem necessary. A 9 judge bench of the SC has laid down that the senior most judge of Supreme Court should be appointed as Chief Justice of India.

In the appointment of other judges, the President shall always consult the Chief Justice of India. He 'may' consult other judges of SC and high courts as he may deem necessary fArtide 124(2)].

Power of appointment is exercised by the President on the advice of Council of Ministers.

There is no fixed period of office for Supreme Court judges. Once appointed, they hold office till the age of 65 years. He can quit office earlier by submitting his resignation to the President.

He can be removed by an order of President only on the grounds of proved misbehavior or incapacity. The order of President in this regard can only be passed after it has been addressed to both houses of parliament in the same session, by special majority (majority of the membership of house and majority of not less than 2/3"1 of members of that house present and voting). [Article 124 (4)].

A Supreme Court judge can become Chief Justice of India but cannot practice before any other court or act as a Judge before any other authority. But there is one exception. This is regarding the retired SC judge appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court for a temporary period by the Chief Justice of India with the previous consent of President [Article 128].

Salaries of Judges are determined by the Parliament by law. These cannot be varied to their disadvantage during their term (except during financial emergency). Their salaries and expenses are charged on the Consolidated. Fund of India. Salary of Chief Justice – Rs. 1,00,000/month Salary of Judges – Rs. 90,000/month  Seat of the Supreme Court is in New Delhi. However it can be shifted elsewhere in India or more benches of SC can be established in India by Chief Justice of India inconsultation with the President.

According to Article 129, Supreme Court is a "Court of Record". It means:- Court records are admitted to be of evidentiary value. It can punish for contempt of the court-

Contempt is of 2 type: Criminal and Civil.

Judges can be liable for the contempt of their own coun.


What is the Collegium system?

The Collegium system is one where the Chief Justice of India and a forum of four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court recommend appointments and transfers of judges. However, it has no place in the Indian Constitution. The system was evolved through Supreme Court judgments in the Three Judges Cases (October 28, 1998)

Why is Collegium system being criticised?

The Central government has criticised it saying it has created an imperium in imperio (empire within an empire) within the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court Bar Association has blamed it for creating a "give-and-take" culture, creating a rift between the haves and have-nots. "While politicians and actors get instant relief from courts, the common man struggles for years for justice.

How and when was the NJAC established?

The National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) was established by amending the Constitution [Constitution (Ninety-Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014] passed by the Lok Sabha on August 13, 2014 and by the Rajya Sabha on August 14 2014. Alongside, the Parliament also passed the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014, to regulate the NJAC's functions. Both Bills were ratified by 16 of the State legislatures and the President gave his assent on December 31, 2014. The NJAC Act and the Constitutional Amendment Act came into force from April 13, 2015.

Who will be in the NJAC?

It will consist of six people- the Chief Justice of India, the two most senior judges of the Supreme Court, the Law Minister, and two 'eminent persons'. These eminent persons are to be nominated for a three-year term by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and are not eligible for re-nomination.

If politicians are involved, what about judicial independence?

The judiciary representatives in the NJAC - the Chief Justice and two senior-most judges - can veto any name proposed for appointment to a judicial post if they do not approve of it. Once a proposal is vetoed, it cannot be revived. At the same time, the judges require the support of other members of the Commission to get a name through.


Adhoc and Acting Judges

Article 127 says that if there is no Quorum of the Supreme Court Judges to hold or continue any session of the court, the Chief Justice of Indian (CJI), with the previous consent of the President and in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned, can request in writing a Judge of the High Court, who is qualified to be a Judge of the Supreme Court, to function as an aahoc Judge of the

Supreme Court.

While so attending as the Judge of the Supreme Court, he shall have all the Jurisdiction, powers and privileges and shall discharge the duties of a Judge of the Supreme Court.


Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court

It extends to the cases originating in Supreme Court alone.

No other court has power to try such cases.

Therefore Supreme Court is a federal court. These are between:

(i) GOI on one side and one or more states on the other. (ii) GOI and one or more States on one side and other states on the other

However such jurisdiction does not apply to the disputes arising out of a treaty or agreement which is in operation or wherein provided for such exclusion. These matters are:-

(i) Exclusion of Jurisdiction of Supreme Court by Parliament in case of use, distribution or control of water of any Inter-state river valley (Article 262).

(ii) Financial matters between Centre and states (Article 280).

(iii) Adjustment of expenses between Centre and states (Article 290).


Appointment of acting Chief Justice

When the office of Chief Justice of India is vacant or when the Chief Justice is by reason of absence or otherwise unable to perform the duties of his office, the duties of the office shall be performed by such one of the other judges of the court as the President may appoint for the purpose.


Attendance of retired Judges at sittings of the Supreme Court

Notwithstanding anything in this chapter the Chief Justice of India may at any time, with the previous consent of the

President, request any person who has held the office of a judge of the Supreme Court or of the Federal Court or who was held the office of a judge of a High Court and is duly qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court to sit and act as a Judge of the Supreme Court to fit and act as a Judge of the Supreme Court and every such person so requested shall, while so sitting and acting be entitled to such allowances as the President may by order determine and have all the jurisdiction. Power and privileges of, but shall not otherwise be deemed be a judge of that court.

Provided that nothing in this article shall be deemed to require any such person as aforesaid to sit and act as a Judge of that Court unless he consents so to do.


Appellate Jurisdiction

Appeal lies with the Supreme Court against the High Courts in the following 4 categories of cases:

(a) Constitutional matters (civil, criminal or others) - Article 132

(b) Civil matters (except Constitutional) - Article 133

(c) Criminal matter (except Constitutional) - Article 13

(d) Special leave to appeal - Article 136

Special leave to appeal is issued by Supreme Court in discretion. It cannot be issued in case of judgment passed by a court or tribunal of armed forces.

It can be granted in any judgement whether final or interlocutory.

It may be related to any matter —constitutional, civil, criminal, income-tax, labour, revenue, advocates, etc.

High Court can certify a case involving substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution and thus refer it to Supreme Court.


Advisory Jurisdiction

Article 143 of the Constitution provides that if it appears to the President that:

  1. A question of law or fact has arisen or is likely to arise.
  2. A question is of a fact of public importance.

He may refer such question for the advisory opinion of the Court and the Court may after such hearing as it thinks fit, sport to the President its opinion thereon.

Supreme Court is not bound to give advisory opinion on the matters of political significance and may refuse to do so.

The Court, however, is bound to give its advisory jurisdiction on the matters relating to disputes arising out of a treaty or agreement entered into before the commencement of the Constitution.

The advice is not binding on the President and he may accept or reject it.

Law declared by the Supreme Court is binding on all the courts in India (Article 141). But Supreme Court itself is not bound by its own decisions. Article 137 empowers Supreme Court to review its own judgment.

Under Article 139A (inserted by 44th amendment Act 1978) Supreme Court may transfer to itself cases from one or more high courts if these involve substantial question of law or that great significance. Supreme Court may transfer cases from one High Court to another in the interest of justice.


Power of Judicial Review

Judicial review is the power of the Supreme Court to examine the constitutionality of legislative enactments and executive orders of both the Central and state governments. On examination, if they are found to be violative of the Constitution (ultra-vires), they can be declared as illegal, unconstitutional and invalid sill and void) by the Supreme Court. Consequently, they cannot be enforced by the Government.

Judicial review is needed for the following reasons:

(a) To uphold the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution.

(b) To maintain federal equilibrium (balance between Centre and states).

(c) To protect the fundamental rights of the citizens.

The Supreme Court used the power of judicial review in various cases, as for example, the Go laknath case (1967), the Bank Nationalisation Case (1970), the Privy Purses Abolition case (1971), the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973), the Minerva Mills case (1980) and so on.

Though the phrase 'Judicial Review' has nowhere been used in the Constitution, the provisions of several articles' explicitly waiter the power of judicial review on the Supreme Court.

The constitutional validity of a legislative enacimem or an executive order can be challenged in the Supreme Court on the following three grounds:

(a) it infringes the Fundamental Rights (Part III),

(b) it is outside the competence of the authority which has

framed it, and

(c) it is repugnant to the constitutional provisions.

From the above, it is clear that the scope of judicial review in India is narrower than that of what exists in USA, though the American Constitution does not explicitly mention the concept of judicial review in any of its provisions. This is because, the American Constitution provides for 'due process of law' against that of 'procedure established by law' which is contained in the Indian Constitution. The difference between the two is: 'The due process of law gives wide scope to the Supreme Court to grant protection to the rights of its citizens. It can declare laws violative of these rights void not only on substantive grounds of being unlawful, but also on procedural grounds of being unreasonable.

Our Supreme Court, while determining the constitutionality of a law, however examines only the substantive question i.e., whether the law is within the powers of the authority concerned or not. It is not expected go into the question of its reasonableness, suitability or policy implications.'

The exercise of wide power of judicial review by the American Supreme Court in the name of due process of law' clause has made the critics to describe it as a 'third chamber' of the Legislature, a super-legislature, the arbiter of social policy and so on. This American principle of judicial supremacy is also recognised in our constitutional system, but to a limited extent. Nor do we fully follow the British Principle of parliamentary supremacy. There are many limitations on the sovereignty of Parliament in our country, like the written character of the Constitution, the federalism with division of powers the Fundamental Rights and the judicial review. In effect, what exists in India is a synthesis of both that is, the American principle of judicial supremacy and the British principle of parliamentary supremacy.


Other Powers

Besides the above, the Supreme Court has numerous other powers:

It decides the disputes regarding the election of the President and the Vice-President. In this regard, it has the original, exclusive and final authority.

It enquires into the conduct and behaviour of the chairman and members of the Union Public Service Commission on a reference made by the President. If it finds them guilty of misbehaviour, it can recommend to the President for their removal. The advice tendered by the Supreme Court in this regard is binding on the President.

It is authorised to withdraw the cases pending before the High Courts and dispose them by itself. It can also transfer a case or appeal pending before one High Court to another High Court.

The Supreme Court's jurisdiction and powers with respect to matters in the Union List can be enlarged by the Parliament. Further, its jurisdiction and powers with respect to other matters can be enlarged by a special agreement of the Centre and the states.


Due Process of Law Vs. According to the Procedure Established by law: The U.S. Constitution (Constitutional Amendments) provides that a man may not be deprived of his right to liberty and property except according to due process of law. The Indian Constitution, however, lays down that a man may not be deprived of his rights to liberty except according to the procedure established by law. The due process of law gives wide scope to the Supreme Court to grant protection to the rights of its citizens. It can declare laws violative of these rights void not only on substantive grounds of being unlawful, but also on procedural grounds of being unreasonable. Our Supreme Court, while determining the constitutionality of a law, however is expected to examine only the substantive question, i.e, whether the law is within the powers of the authority concerned or not. It is not expected to go into the question of its reasonableness, suitability or policy implications.

The Supreme Court pronounces its judgement on a specific case through a specific petition. It does not give its opinion or advice on a general reference. There should be an aggrieved person who petitions the Court to challenge the constitutionality of the statute which has adversely affected his rights. He has to show that he has sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the statute, and that the injury complained of is justiciable.


Supreme Court - In a nutshell

·   Supreme court is the final interpreter & guardian of our Constitution. It is the highest court of appeal in India.

·   Presently there are 31 judges (including Chief justice) in Supreme Court.

·   The CJI is appointed by the President. The present CJI is Hon?ble Mr. Jagdish Singh Khehar (04-01-2017 to 27-8-2017).

·   There is no fixed period of office for SC judges. Once appointed, they hold office till the age of 65 years.

·   A judge of SC can be removed from his office only by the process of impeachment.

·   According to Article 129, SC is a "Court of Record".

It means:-

(a) Court records are admitted to be of evidentiary value.

(b)   It can punish for Contempt of the Court.

·   Qualification for appointment as a Judge of SC :-         (1) Citizen of India.

(2) Either be a distinguished jurist, or one who has been a High Court Judge for atleast 5 years or an advocate of a High Court (or 2 or more such courts in Succession) for atleast 10 years.


Jurisdiction of Supreme Court




Chief Justice of India (Since, 1931)


S. No.


Took Office

Left Office


HJ Kania          

15th August,1947

16th Nov, 1951


MP Sastri       

16th Nov, 1951

3rd Jan, 1954


Mehr Chand





3rd Jan, 1954

22nd Dec, 1954


BK Mukherjee

22nd Dec, 1954

31st Jan, 1956


Sudhi Ranjan Das

31st Jan, 1956

30th Sep,1959


Bhuvaneshwar Prasad Sinha

30th Sep, 1959


31st Jan, 1964



PB Gajendragadkar

31st Jan, 1964

15th Mar, 1966



AK Sarkar     

16th Mar. 1966

29th June, 1966



K Subba Rao 

30th June, 1966

11th April. 1967



Kailash Nath Wanchoo

12th April, 1967

24th Feb. 1968



M Hidayatullah

25th Feb, 1968

16th Dec, 1970



Jayantilal Chhotalal Shah

17th Dec, 1970

21st Jan, 1971



SM Sikri      

22nd Jan, 1971

25th April, 1973



AN Ray      

25th April, 1973


28th Jan, 1977



Mirza Hameedullah Beg

29th Jan, 1977


21st Feb, 1978



YV Chandrachud  

22nd Feb, 1978


11th July, 1985



PN Bhagwati  

12th July. 1985


20th Dec, 1986



RS Pathak     

21st Dec, 1986


6th June, 1989



ES Venkataramiah

19th June, 1989


17th Dec, 1989



S Mukherjee   

18th Dec, 1989


25th Sep, 1990



Ranganath Mishra        

25th Sep, 1990


24th Nov, 1991



Kamal Narain Singh

25th Nov, 1991


12th Dec, 1991



MH Kania     

13rd Dec, 1991


17th Nov. 1992



Lalit Mohan Sharma

18th Nov, 1992


11th Feb, 1993



MN Venkatachaliah

12th Feb. 1993


24th Oct, 1994



 AM Ahmadi   

25th Oct. 1994

24th Mar, 1997



JS Verma     

25th Mar, 1997


18th Jan, 1998



MM Punchhi  

18th Jan, 1998


9th Oct. 1998



AS Anand    

10th Oct. 1998

1st Nov. 2001



SP Bharucha   

2nd Nov, 2001


6th May, 2002



BN Kirpal     

6th May, 2002


11th Nov. 2002



GB Pattanaik  

11th Nov. 2002


19th Dec, 2002



VN Khare     

19th Dec, 2002


2nd May. 2004



Rajendra Babu

2nd May, 2004


1st June, 2004



RC Lahoti     

1st June. 2004


1st Nov. 2005



YK Sabharwal 

1st Nov. 2005


14th Jan, 2007



KG Balakrishnan

14th Jan, 2007


11th May, 2010



SH Kapadia    

12th May, 2010


28th Sep. 2012



Altamas Kabir 

29th Sep, 2012


18th July, 2013




19th July, 2013


26th April, 2014



Rajendra Mai Lodha

27th April, 2014


27th Sep, 2014



HL Dattu     

28th Sep. 2014


02nd Dec, 2015



T.S. Thakur    

03rd Dec. 2015


4th Jan 2017



Jagdish Singh Khehar

4th Jan. 2017






Public Interest litigation (PIL)

In principle, all citizens of India can access the courts in the country. But in reality access to courts has always been difficult for a vast majority of the Poor in India, as legal procedures involve a lost of money a paperwork as well as take up a lot of time. In response to this, the Supreme Court in the early 1980s devised a mechanism of PIL.

Through PIL, the judiciary has also shown readiness to take into consideration rights of those sections who cannot easily approach the courts. For this purpose, the judiciary allowed public spirited citizens, social organisations and lawyers to file petitions on behalf of the needy and the deprived. Justice Krishna lyer and Justice Bhagwati were champions of the concept of PIL in India.



Judicial Activism

It means the assertive role played by the judiciary to force

Other organs of the state namely the Executive and Legislature to discharge their duties properly, as assigned to them by the Constitution. The Judiciary has played an activist role in the recent 2G Scam Case, CVC Case, Jharkhand Legislative Assembly Case, Cancellation of Coal Blocks Case.


Landmark Judgements of the Supreme Court

AK Gopalan Case, 1950

The case corresponds to the charges of violation of Fundamental Rights to freedom under the Preventive Detention Act. The court was approached over the validity of the act.

The Supreme Court held that the constitutional validity of a law cannot be verified by the judiciary and the judiciary has only the capacity to verify whether the procedure according to the law has been followed.


Champakam Dorairajan Case, 1951

The case challenged the reservations given to backward classes in educational institutions in Tamil Nadu.

First Amendment Act was inserted as Article 15(4) in the Constitution.


Shankari Prasad Case, 1952

The First Constitutional Amendment Act, providing for reservations, was challenged that it violated Fundamental

Rights. The court held that Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution.


Berubari Case, I960

While ceding a part of Indian Territory to an alien state, the court in an advisory opinion held that such process cannot take place unless a Constitutional Amendment to that effect is made.


Golaknath Case, 1967

The Supreme Court held that Constitutional Amendment cannot be extended to infringement of Fundamental Rights.


Keshvananda Bharati Case, 1973

The Supreme Court propounded the Basic Structure Doctrine and held that certain basic features of the Constitution cannot be amended while others can be done, so without having a sweeping change in the Constitution.


Minerva Mills Case, 1980

The Supreme Court held that Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy are complementary to each other and any law enacted to implement the Directive Principle could not curb the Fundamental Rights.


Shah Bano Case, 1985

The Supreme Court held that Muslim women also have right to get maintenance from their husbands when they are divorced.


Sto Stephen's College Case, 1992

The Supreme Court held that atleast 50% of seats in minority institutions should be reserved for non- minority students.


Indira Sawhney Case, 1993

In this case, the Supreme Court declared that reservation

cannot exceed 50% and introduced the 'creamy layer'.


SR Bommai Case, 1994

The Supreme Court held that Federalism is a part of Basic Structure and State Governments cannot be arbitrarily dismissed by a Governor. The case laid down the guidelines in proving a majority under Article 356.


Chandra Kumar Case, 1997

The Supreme Court upheld that judicial review is a part of basic structure of the Constitution.


TMA Pai Case, 2002

The Supreme Court held that the right to administer minority educational institution is not absolute and the state can regulate the institutional affairs in the interest of educational standards.


2G Spectrum Scam, 2008

The Supreme Court declared allotment of spectrum as unconstitutional and arbitrary' and quashed all the 122 licenses issued in 2008 during tenure of A Raja, the mam official accused in the 2G scam case.


Black Money, 2012

The government refused to disclose details of about 18 Indian holding accounts in LGT Bank, Liechtenstein evoking a sharp response from a bench comprising Justice B Sudershan Reddy and SS Nijjar. The court ordered the SIT to probe the matter.


Right to Reject, 2013

The Supreme Court directed me Election Commission to introduce a ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) button on electronic voting machines and ballot papers which can be used by the voter to reject all the candidates contesting elections in a constituency.


Re-Opening Dance Bars, 2013

Eight years after the Maharashtra Government banned dance bars in Mumbai, the Supreme Court on 16th July gave its go-ahead to their re-opening in the city and elsewhere in the state Supreme Court Recognises Transgenders as 'Third Gender, 2014


In a Landmark judgement the Supreme Court recognized the transgender persons as third gender.







SC observed that the request of the information seeker about the information of his answer sheets and details of the interview marks can be and should be provided to him by Public Service Commission under RTI Act but not about examiners.

Kerala Public Service Commission vs. State Information Commission.



SC Allows Photos of CMs, Governors, and Ministers in Government Advertisements,

Request by Centre, W.Bengal & T. Nadu govts. To Supreme Court.



SC approved guidelines of Union Government to protect Good Samaritans from police, who help road accident victims.

SC's Committee & Transport Ministry for road safety.


SC ordered to conduct the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2016 in Two Phases, for academic year 2016-17 for admission to MBBS, BDS and like Courses of medical colleges throughout the country.

Sankalp Charitable Trust vs. UoI.



SC appointed RM Lodha Panel to oversee functions of Medical Council of India.

SC appointed Panel on its own.



 SC ruled that Telecom Regulatory Authority of India TRAI's Penalty on Tel-companies for Call Drops is Illegal.

Cellular Operators Association of India vs. TRAI.


SC issued landmark guidelines for disaster /drought management. The writ petition was filed by Swaraj Abhiyan.

Swaraj Abhiyan vs. UoI.


SC asked the SpiceJet Ltd to pay Rupees Ten Lakhs to Jeeja Ghosh, an eminent activist involved in disability rights, for forcibly de-boarding her by the flight crew, because other disability.

Jeeja Gosh vs. UoI


SC directed the Union Government and State Governments to treat only transgender & not Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals as socially and educationally backward classes and provide them quotas in admission to educational institutions and public appointments.

Transgender vs. Govt.



SC ruled that security forces cannot use excessive and retaliatory force in disturbed areas under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958.

Verdict on PIL filed by Extra Judical Execution Victim Families Association.



SC accepted recommendations of the Lodha Committee on reforms to the BCCI, including a bar on ministers and civil servants and those above 70 from becoming its members.

BCCI    vs.    Lodha Committee Recommendations.



SC can transfer cases from Jammu & Kashmir Courts to courts outside it and vice versa.

Anita Kushwaha vs. Pushpa Sudan.



SC held that former Chief Ministers are not entitled for government accommodation for lifetime.

Lok Prahari vs. State of Uttar Pradesh.



SC ruled that persons in Govt/judicial service need not resign to participate in District Judge Selection Process.

SC held that Article 233(2) of the Constitution of India only prohibits the appointment of a person as District Judge, who is already in the service of the Union or the State, but not the selection of such a person.

Vijay Kumar Mishra and Anr vs. Patna High Court.



SC held that all Tribunals are not necessary parties to the proceedings where legality of its orders challenged.

S. Kazi vs. Muslim education society



SC ordered Kamataka to release 15000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu, Later on a plea by state of Kamataka; it was modified to 12000 cusecs.

State of Kamataka vs. State of Tamil Nadu.



SC directed Union & state govts. To upload FIRs in Police Websites.

Youth Bar Association of India vs. Union of India.



SC in case of Tattu Lodhi, child rapist and murderer opted for, instead of death penalty, a "judicial innovation", i.e. SC stripped Lodhi of his right to apply for release from prison on remission for me next 25 years.

Child's Parent Vs. Tattu Lodhi.



SC observed that providing social security to the legal profession becomes an essential part of any legal system which has to be effective, efficient and robust to enable it to provide necessary service to the consumers of justice.

Cardamom Marketing Corporation & Anr. vs. State of Kerala & Ors.



SC held that persistent effort of the wife to constrain her husband to be separated from the family constitutes an act of 'cruelty' to grant divorce.

Narendra vs. K.Meena.



SC stayed the commercial release of Genetically Modified (GM) mustard crop till October 17, 2016.

On petition filed by Aruna Rodrigues vs. Govt. Of India.



SC widened the scope of the Domestic Violence Act by ordering deletion of the words "adult male" from it, paving the way for prosecution of women and even non-adults for subjecting a woman relative to violence and harassment.

Hiral P Harsora and ors vs. Kusum Narottamdas Harsora.



SC Freezes BCCI's Transactions with State Cricket Bodies.

BCCI vs. Lodha Committee.


SC upheld the constitutional validity of Entry Tax imposed by States on goods coming in from other states.

Jindal Stainless Ltd. vs. State of Haryana.



SC ordered all cinema halls across India to play the National Anthem before the screening of films.

Shyam Narayan Chouksey vs Union of India.



SC ruled that horse racing per se is not animal cruelty. It held that it is different from Jallikattu, which metes out specific methods of torture to bulls.

Animal Welfare Board of India vs A. Nagaraja & Ors



SC set aside a Rajasthan High Court order which had directed the Union Government to exempt judges of the high court from pre-embarkation security checks, i.e. High Court judges not exempt from airport frisking.

·   Union of India vs. Rajasthan High Court and Ors.



·   SC passed an order to ban all liquor shops on national as well as state highways across the country as a measure to control the road mishaps.

·   SC ruled that the Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel cannot sport a beard on religious grounds.

·   SC refused to quash the March 2015 resolution by both houses of Parliament against Justice Markandey Katju for describing Gandhi as a British agent and Netaji as a Japanese agent in a blog.

·   State of Tamil Nadu vs. K, Balu



·   Mohammed Zubair and Ansari Aaftab Ahmed vs. IAF authorities.

·   Justice Markandey Katju vs. the Lok Sabha.



·   SC held that Jammu and Kashmir has "no vestige" of sovereignty outside the Indian Constitution and its own, while the citizens of the state are "first and foremost" citizens of India.

·   SC has referred constitutional validity of demonetization to a constitutional bench.

·         State Bank of India vs. Santosh Gupta & Anr. Etc.


·         A batch of cases Vs. GoI.



·   SC ruled out that no politician can seek votes in the name of caste, language, region or religion & it will be a corrupt practice and not permissible.

·   SC sacked Anurag Thakur, President, BCCI and Secretary Ajay Shirke from their posts.

·   A seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has held that re-promulgation of ordinances is a fraud on the Constitution and a subversion of democratic legislative processes. So, placing of Ordinance before Legislature is mandatory.

·   A High Court cannot initiate contempt proceedings or punish for contempt of the Supreme Court. A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur set aside an order of division bench of Delhi High.

·   Abhiram Singh vs. C.D. Commachen.



·   BCCI vs. Lodha Panel


·   Krishna Kumar Singh vs. State of Bihar.




·   Vitusah Oberoi vs. Court of Its Own Motion.




Court, which found editors and cartoonists of Mid-Day newspaper guilty of contempt for maligning the former Chief Justice of India. The High court had suo motu initiated contempt after an advocate brought such cartoons and news reports to its notice



The Supreme Court has imposed a cost of Rs. 1 lakh on a tenant who refused to hand over possession to the landlord even after the apex court ordered it in 2012.

Anil Sabarwal & ORS vs Girija Shankar.



The Supreme Court reiterated that a person holding premises gratuitously (i.e. unjustifiably) won't acquire any legal right on the property.

Behram Tejani vs. Azeem Jagani.



SC declined to interfere in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for regulation of private coaching institutes.

The Student Federation of India (SFI) vs. Union of India & ors.


SC directed all universities to verify certificates of law degree holders without charging a fee.

Ajayinder Sangwan vs. Bar Council of India & ors.


SC notice to Centre, CBSE on plea to include urdu un NEFT.

Through its Secretary & or& vs. Union of India.


 SC Tells High Courts not to keep review petetions pending for long.

Sasi (D) Through Lrs. vs. Aravindakshan Nari and Others


SC declared trust can't file complaint before consumer forum.

Pratibha Pratisthan vs. Manager, Canara, Bank.


SC ruled central PF authorities have no authority over ?exempted? establishments.

Yeshwant Gramin Shikshan Sanstha vs. Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner.


SC ban sale of Bharat Stsage III (BS III) vehicles from April 1, 2017

M.C. Mehta vs. Union of Indian & ORS


NEET 2017 Supreme Court verdict: Students aged above 25 years can now appear for exam

Rai Sabiasachi and ANR vs. Union of India and ORS


State Judiciary High Court

  • Article 214 provides that there shall be a High Court for each state. However under Article 231 (1) Parliament can establish by law, a common High Court for two or more States or for two or more States and a UT. There are 24 High Courts in India. Out of them three are common High Courts.
  • Calcutta High Court Madras High Court Bombay High Court and Allahabad High Court are the oldest four High Courts in India Among the four, the Calcutta High Court is the oldest, established on 2nd July 1862.
  • Parliament may by law constitute a High Court for UT or declare any court in any such UT to be a High Court (Article 241).
  • Guwahati High Court is the largest High Court in India; its territorial jurisdiction extends to seven states of the North East.
  • Kolkata High Court has territorial jurisdiction coven Andaman and Nicobar.
  • Delhi has a separate high court but the other UTs come under the jurisdiction of various High Courts.


Appointment of Judges of High Court

  • Article 217 provides that every judge of a high cour shall be appointed by the President.
  • President appoints Chief Justice of High Court after consultation with Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the state concerned. In case of appointment of other judges of the High Court he may consult the Chief Justice of High Court concerned.
  • The strength of the judges of the High Courts is not the same
  • In Re-Presidential Reference Case (popularly known a Appointment and Transfer of Judges Case), Supreia Court held that the Chief Justice of India should consult “a collegium of two senior most judges of the Supreme Court" for the appointment of a judge of Supreme Court or High Court.
  • Further in case of transfer of High Court judges, in addition to the collegium of 4 judges of Supreme Court, the Chief Justice of India is required to consult Chief Justice of both the High Courts (one from where the judge is being transferred and the other, receiving him).
  • Article 222 empowers the President after consultation with Chief Justice of India to transfer a judge from one High Court to another High Court.


Qualifications of a Judge of High Court

  1. Citizen of India,
  2. Have held a judicial office for at least 10 years or
  3. Have been an advocate of one High Court or two or more High Courts in succession for at least 10 years.


Term of Adhoc Judge

  • Until he attains the age of 62 years.
  • He may resign by writing to the President.
  • He may removed by the President on the grounds of proved misbehavior or incapacity on an address by both houses of parliament supported by the vote of 23rd of members present and voting in each house.
  • Thus a judge of the HC can be removed in the same way as a judge of SC.



  • Besides other facilities. Chief Justice and other Judges of High Court get a salary of Rs. 90,000 and Rs. 80,000 per month, respectively.
  • The salaries and allowances of the judges are charged on the Consolidated Fund of the State. These cannot be varied by the parliament to their disadvantage after their appointment (except under financial emergency). The pensions of the judges are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • After retirement, a permanent judge of HC cannot plead or act in a court of India except SC or HC other than the one in which he has held office.


Jurisdiction of high court

Original Jurisdiction

It means the power of a High Court to hear disputes in the first instance, not by way of appeal. It extends to the following:

(a) Matters of admirality, will, marriage, divorce, company laws and contempt of court.

(b) Disputes relating to the election of members of Parliament and state legislatures.

(c) Regarding revenue matter or an act ordered or done in revenue collection.

(d) Enforcement of fundamental rights of citizens.

(e) Cases ordered to be transferred from a subordinate court involving the interpretation of the Constitution to its own file.

(f)  The four high courts (i.e., Calcutta, Bombay, Madras and Delhi High Courts) have original civil jurisdiction in cases of higher value.


Writ Jurisdiction

Article 226 of the Constitution empowers High Court to issue writs including habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition and quo-warranto for enforcement of the fundamental rights of the citizens and for any other purpose.

The phrase 'for other purpose' refers to the enforcement of an ordinary legal right. The High Court can issue writs to any person, authority and government not only within its territorial jurisdiction but also outside its territorial jurisdiction if the cause of action arises within its territorial jurisdiction.

The writ jurisdiction of the High Court (under Article 226) is not exclusive but concurrent with the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (under Article 32). It means, when the fundamental rights of a citizen are violated, the aggrieved party has the option of moving either the High Court or the Supreme Court directly. However, the writ jurisdiction of the High Court is wider than that of the Supreme Court. This is because, the Supreme Court can issue writs only for the enforcement of fundamental rights and not for any other purpose, that is, it does not extend to a case where the breach of an ordinary legal right is alleged."


Appellate Jurisdiction

A high court is primarily a court of appeal. It hears appeals against the judgements of subordinate courts functioning in its territorial jurisdiction. It has appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal matters. Hence, the appellate jurisdiction of a High Court is wider than its original jurisdiction.


Supervisory Jurisdiction

A high court has the power of superintendence over 'all courts and tribunals functioning in its territorial jurisdiction (except military courts or tribunals). Thus, it may-

(a) call for returns from them;

(b) make and issue, general rules and prescribe forms for regulating the practice and proceedings of them;

(c) prescribe forms in which books, entries and accounts are to be kept by them; and

(d) settle the fees payable to the sheriff, clerks, officers and legal practitioners of them.

This power of superintendence of a High Court is very broad because,

(i) it extends to all courts and tribunals whether they are subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the High Court or not;

(ii) it covers not only administrative superintendence but also judicial superintendence;

(iii) it is a revisional jurisdiction and

(iv) it can be suo-motu (on its own) and not necessarily on the application of a party.

However, this power does not vest the High Court with any unlimited authority over the subordinate courts and tribunals. It is an extraordinary power and hence has to be used most sparingly and only in appropriate cases. Usually, it is limited to,

(i) excess of jurisdiction,

(ii) gross violation of natural justice

(iii) error of law,

(iv) disregard to the law of superior courts,

(v) perverse findings, and

(vi) manitest injustce.


Control over Subordinate Courts

In addition to its appellate jurisdiction and supervisory jurisdiction over the subordinate courts as mentioned above, a High Court has an administrative control and other powers over them. These include the following:

(a) It is consulted by the Governor in the matters appointment, posting and promotion of district judges and in the appointments of persons in the judicial service of the state (other district judges).

(b) It deals with the matters of posting, promotion grant of leave, transfers and discipline of members of the judicial service of the state (other than district judges).

(e) It can withdraw a case pending in a subordinate court if it involves a substantial question of law that require the interpretation of Constitution. It can then either dispose of case itself or determine the question of law and return the case to the subordinate court with its judgement.

(d) Its law is binding on all subordinate courts functioning within its territorial jurisdiction in same sense as the law declared by the Supreme Court is binding on all courts in India.


Power of Judicial Review

Judicial review is the power of a High Court to examine the constitutionality of legislative enactments and executive orders of both the Central and state governments. On examination, if they are found to be violative of the Constitution (ultra-vires), they can be declared as illegal, unconstitutional and invalid (null and void) by the High Court.

Though the phrase 'judicial review' has no where been used in the Constitution, the provisions of Articles 13 and 226 explicitly confer the power of judicial review on a High

Court. The constitutional validity of a legislative enactment or an executive order can be challenged in a High Court on the following three grounds:

(a) It infringes the fundamental rights (Part III),

(b) It is outside the competence of the authority which has framed it, and

(c) It is repugant to the constitutional provisions.

The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 curtailed the judicial review power of High Court. It debarred the High Coat from considering the constitutional validity of any central law. However, the 43rd Amendment Act of 1977 restored the original position.


High Court

  • The judiciary in a State consists of a HC & a hierarchy of Subordinate courts.
  • The judges of HC are appointed by the President.
  • The judge of a HC holds office until he attains the age of 62 years. He can be removed by the process of Impeachment.
  • Qualification: a person appointed as a judge of HC should

(1) Be a citizen of India.

(2) Must have held a judicial office in the territory of India for 10 years or have been on advocate a high court for 10 years.


Jurisdiction of High Court

Comparison between Supreme Court and High Court


1. This is the union court and the apex institution of the united court system.

1. The High Court is constituted in every State for a group of states.

2. All the Judges of the Supreme Court, retire on attaining the age of 65 years.

2. The Judge of the High Court retires after attaining the age of 62 years.

3. The Judges of the Supreme Court cannot do their practice after retirement. These are also restricted during their tenure.

3. The Judge of the High Court cannot do his legal practice during his tenure but we can do this after his tenure in any High Court or Supreme Court. He cannot do his legal practices in courts below High Court.

4. The Judges of the Supreme Court cannot be transferred and cannot be promoted.

4. The Judges of the High Courts are transferrable to the other high courts. They can be promoted upto Judge of the Supreme Court.

5. The Supreme Court is not bounded to obey the decisions of the High Courts or any other courts.

5. The High Courts are bounded to obey the decision of Supreme Court.

6. The Supreme Court only has the power to take decisions regarding constitutions.

6. The High Court has no power to take decisions regarding constitution.

7. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court draws a salary of 100,000 Rupees per month while other Judges draw Rs. 90,000 per month.

7. The chief Justice of High Court draws a salary of Rs. 90,000 while other Judges draw Rs. 80,000 p.m.

8. The cases involving the interpretation    of    the Constitution are decided only by the Supreme Court.

8. The cases involving the interpretation of the Constitution are not decided by the High Court.

9. The Supreme Court can issue writs only for the enforcement of fundamental Rights

9. High Court can issue writs not only for the enforcement of fundamental    Rights but also for any other purpose.

10. A remedy under Article 226 is discretionary and hence, a High Court may refuse to exercise its writ jurisdiction.


10. A remedy under Article 32 in in Itself a Fundamental Right and hence, the Supreme Court may not refuse to exercise its writ jurisdiction.



The High Courts: Seats and Jurisdiction The Calcutta High Court in the country, established on 2 July 1862. High Courts that handle a large number of cases of a particular region have permanent benches established there. Benches are also present in states which come under the jurisdiction of a court outside its territorial limits. Smaller states with few cases may have circuit benches established. Circuit benches (known as circuit courts in some parts of the world) are temporary courts which hold proceedings for a few selected months in a year. Thus cases built up during this interim period are judged when the circuit court is in session.

The Madras High Court in Chennai, Bombay High Court in Mumbai, Calcutta High Court in Kolkata and Allahabad High Court in Allahabad are the oldest four High Courts in India.

The following are the 24 High Courts of India sorted by name, year established, Act by which it was established, jurisdiction, headquarters, benches, the maximum number of judges sanctioned and the presiding Chief Justice of the High Court


Court name


Act established








Chief Justice

Allahabad High Court

11 June 1866

Indian High Courts Act 1861

Uttar Pradesh







Hon'ble Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud

Bombay High Court

14 August 1862

Indian High Courts Act 1861

Maharashtta, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu




Aurangabad, Nagpur, Panaji



Hon'ble Justice Mohit Shantilal Shah

Calcutta High Court

2 July 1862

Indian High Courts Act 1861

West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands




Port Blair



Hon'ble Justice Navin Sinha (Acting)

Chhattisgarh High Court

1 November 2000

Madhya Pradesh Re-organisation Act, 2000







Hon'ble Justice Manjula Chellur

Delhi High Court

31 October 1966

Delhi High Court Act, 1966

National Capital Territory of Delhi

New Delhi



Hon'ble Justice G. Rohini

Gauhati High Court

1 March 1948

Government of India Act, 1935

Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram



Aizwal, Itanagar, Kohima




Hon'ble Justice K. Sreedhar Rao(Acting)

Gujarat High Court

1 May 1960

Bombay Re-organsisation Act, 1960







Hon'ble Justice Jayant .M.Patel(Acting)

High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad

5 July 1954

Andhra State Act, 1953

Andhra Pradesh, Telangana






Hon'ble Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale (Acting)

Himachal Pradesh High Court


State of Himachal Pradesh Act, 1970

Himachal Pradesh






Hon'ble Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir

Jammu and Kashmir High Court

28 August 1943

Letters Patent issued by then Maharaja of Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir






Hon'ble Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar

Jharkhand High Court

15 November 2000

Bihar Re-organisation Act, 2000







Hon'ble Justice Virender Singh

Karnataka High Court


Mysore High Court Act, 1884





Dharwad,  Gulbarga



Hon'ble Justice Subhro Kamal Mukhergee (Acting)

Kerala High Court


States Re-organisation Act, 1956

Kerala, Lakshadweep






Hon'bl Justice Ashok Bhushan(Acting)

Madhya Pradesh High Court

2 January 1936

Government of India Act, 1935

Madhya Pradesh




Gwalior Indore



Hon'ble Justice Ajay M. Khan wilkar

Madras High Court

15 August 1862

Indian High Courts Act 1861

Tamil Nadu, Puducherry







Hon'ble Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul

Manipur High Court

25 March 2013

North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Act, 2012







Hon'ble Justice L. K. Mohapatra

Meghalaya High Court

25 March 2013

North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Act, 2012







Hon'ble Justice Uma Nath Singh

Orissa High Court

3 April 1948

Orissa High Court Order, 1948






Hon'ble Justice DH H. Waghela

Patna High Court

2 September 1916

Government of India Act, 1915







Hon'ble Justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari

Punjab and Haryana High Court

21 March 1919

High Court (Punjab) Order, 1947

Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh






Hon'ble Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar(Acting)

Rajasthan High Court

21 June 1949

Rajasthan High Court Ordinance, 1949








Hon'ble Justice Ajit Singh (Acting)

Sikkim High Court

16 May 1975

The 36th Amendment to the Indian Constitution







Hon'ble Justice Sunil Kumar Sinha

Tripura High Court

26 March 2013

North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Act, 2012







Hon'ble Justice Deepak Gupta

Uttarakhand High Court

9 November 2000

Uttar Pradesh Re-organisation Act, 2000







Hon'ble Justice K.M. Joseph




Chief Justice j I



H. Court by State/ U. Territory


Principal Seat/ (Bench having jurisdiction of the State)

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Calcutta High Court

Kolkata (Bench at Port Blair)

Arunachal Pradesh

Gauhati High Court

Guwahati (Bench at Itanagar)

Andhra Pradesh

High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad



Gauhati High Court



Patna High Court



Chhattisgarh High Court



Punjab and Haryana High Court


Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Bombay High Court


Daman and Diu

Bombay High Court


National Capital Territory of Delhi

Delhi High Court

New Delhi


Bombay High Court

Mumbai (Bench at Panaji)


Gujarat High Court



Punjab and Haryana High Court


Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh High Court


Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir High Court



Jharkhand High Court



Karnataka High Court

Bengaluru (Bench at Dharwad and Gulbarg


Kerala High Court



Kerala High Court


Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh High Court

Jabalpur (Bench at Gwalior and Indore)


Bombay High Court

Mumbai (Bench at Aurangabad and agpur)


Manipur High Court



Meghalaya High Court



Gauhati High Court

Guwahati (Bench at Aizawl)


Gauhati High Court

Guwahati (Bench at Kohima)


Orissa High Court



Madras High Court



Punjab and Haryana High Court



Rajasthan High Court

Jodhpur (Bench at Jaipur)


Sikkim High Court


Tamil Nadu

Madras High Court

Chennai (Bench at Madurai)


High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad



Tripura High Court



Uttarakhand High Court


Uttar Pradesh

Allahabad High Court

Allahabad (Bench at Lucknow)

West Bengal

Calcutta High Court



Courts under High Court

  • District Courts of India
  • District Munsiff Court
  • Courts of Judicial Magistrate of First Class
  • Courts of Judicial Magistrate of Second Class


Subordinate Courts (part VI, Articles 233 to 237)

Under the High Court there are three types of courts in the districts. They are the Civil Courts, the Criminal Courts and the Revenue Courts. The highest Civil Court in a district is that of the district judge. They have the power to try civil cases and to hear appeals. They have additional civil judges to help them. The less important cases are decided by sub-judges and munsifs.

The highest District Court to try criminal cases is that of the Sessions Judge. The criminal cases are heard by the Magistrates too. The district judge also acts as the Sessions Judge in a district. Appeal cases against the lower courts are heard by the District Courts and appeals against the decisions taken by the District Court can be made to the State High Court.


Appointment of District Judges

The appointment, posting and promotion of a District Judge is done under the Governor of the State in consultation with the High Court. The necessary qualifications for a person to be appointed as a District Judge are as follows:

  • Article 233 strictly says that a person to be appointed as District Judge must not be in the service of the Central or the State Government.
  • He should have been an advocate or a pleader for 7 years.
  • He should be recommended by the High Court for appointment as a District Judge.


Other Local Courts

In addition to the three type of courts mentioned above, there are the Panchayati Adalats or Nyaya Panchayats which are also under the District Judge in some states. Four or Five Gram Sabha have one such Panchayati Court. They are established to try small cases of all kinds. Under this system the cases can be decided fast and need not in value much expenditure.

The Nyaya Panchayats function in ruler areas a similar concept introduced in some urban area this is called the 'Lok Adalat'.


National Legal Services Authority

In 1987 the Legal Services Authorities Act (LSAA) was enacted by the parliament, which came into force on November 9, 1995 to establish a nationwide uniform network for providing free and Competent Legal Services to the weaker section of the society on the basis of equal opportunity. The National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the legal Services Authority Act 1987 to monitor and evalulate implementation of legal aid programmes and lay down policies and principles for making legal services available under the Act.

In every state, a State Legal Services Authority and in every High Court a High Court legal services committee has been constituted. District legal services authorities and Taluka Legal Service Committees have been constituted in the district and most of the Talukas in order to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to provide free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalat in the states.

NALSA issues guidelines for the State Legal Services Authorities to implement, the legal aid programmes and schemes through out the country. Primarily, the state legal services authorities, district legal service authority, Talika Legal service committee, etc. have been assigned the task of discharging the following two main functions on regular basis.

(i)   To provide free legal services to the eligible persons: and

(ii) To organise Lok Adalats for amicable settlement disputes.


Mobile Courts

Mobile Court means a court set-up in a vehicle, which can move from one place to another, according to a well-prepaid plan and schedule. Mobile Courts will be of great relief to the rural people. It would create greater awareness about the judicial system among rural masses, cut costs for them a render justice at their doorstep. These courts should see to that hearings are not unnecessarily postponed.

The Mobile Court is equipped to receive complaints, civil and criminal applications, grant bail and remand accused to custody, issue summons, receive police reports, record evidence, pronounce and execute decrees and judgements pass sentences and can send convicts to prison. It also delivers certified copies of its orders and judgements. The Country’s first mobile court was launched at Mewat district in Haryana.


Lok Adalat

It is a system of alternative dispute resolution developed India. It roughly means People's court. They are governed Legal Services Authorities Act of 1987. The Award of the Lok Adalat is binding upon all the parties. Lok Adalats are given certain powers of the Civil Courts. The Lok Adalats have wide jurisdiction that means any matter falling within jurisdiction of Civil, Criminal, Revenue Courts or Tribunals are dealt by them.

Lok Adalat accepts the cases which could be settled by conciliation and in which, compromise was pending in the Regular Courts within their jurisdiction. The Lok Adalat presided over by a sitting or Retired Judicial Officer or other person of respect and legal knowledge as the Chairman with two other members, usually a lawyer and a social works The first Lok Adalat was held on March 14, 1982 at Junagarh in Gujarat.


Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

It encompasses arrangement of means to resolve conflict without formal litigation. It seeks to reduce cost and delay and avoid the adversarial n ature of litigation. ADR have follow techniques:

  • Conciliation is an informal process designed to create an environment where negotiations can take place. If the parties fail to reach an agreement, the case is referred to mediation.
  • Mediation is voluntary and confidential process where a neutral third party assists negotiations. The parties are responsible for reaching an agreement and the negotiator cannot impose settlement. If the mediation fails to reach agreement, the case is referred to arbitration.
  • Arbitration is form of private adjudication where a mutually acceptable third party hears arguments from either side in a dispute and renders a judgement. The judgement known as an Award, is confidential and binding.
  • Community-driven resolution mechanism (Lok Adalat literally means 'Peoples Court'. It is an alternative dispute settlement mechanism, which settles disputes. It helps in quick disposal of cases and the process is simple and carries no fees. Lok Adalats are statutory forums since the enactment of the Legal Serivces Authorities Act, 1987.


Difference between IPC and CrPC.

Indian Penal Code, 1860 is one of the 3 major criminal statutes a India which forms the base of criminal justice system in India. IPC was passed into law on October 6, 1860 and came into operation on January 1, 1862.

The other two major statutes are Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and Code of Criminal Procedures, 1973.

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the factual law defining various crimes and prescribing the punishment which would visit those who would commit those crimes. The Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr PC) is essentially a procedural law prescribing the procedure for investigation and trial of an offence to be followed by the Courts for a criminal case. So, hierarchy of criminal courts, the stages of a criminal suit, Powers of magistrates, different types of criminal cases, the powers of the police to arrest, etc. is laid down in the CrPC. .Moreover, the basic difference is that the former is a substantive law and the latter is a procedural law.

The Indian Penal Code applies to the whole of India except for the state of Jammu & Kashmir. It contains 23 Chapters and 511 Sections. Before the Indian Penal Code came into effect, the Mohammedan Criminal Law was applied to both Mohammedans and Hindus in India.

Broad classification of crimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

  1. Crimes Against Body: Murder, Its attempt. Culpable Homicide not amounting to Murder, Kidnapping & Abduction, Hurt, Causing Death by Negligence;
  2. Crimes Against Property: Dacoity, its preparation & assembly. Robbery, Burglary, Theft;
  3. Crimes Against Public order: Riots, Arson;
  4. Economic Crimes: Criminal Breach of Trust, Cheating, Counterfeiting;
  5. Crimes Against Women: Rape, Dowry Death, Cruelty by Husband and Relatives, Molestation, Sexual harassment and Importation of Girls;
  6. Crimes Against Children: Child Rape, Kidnapping & Abduction of Children, Procreation of minor girls, Selling/ Buying of girls for Prostitution, Abetment to Suicide, Exposure and Abandonment, Infanticide, Foeticide;
  7. Other IPC crimes.


Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013

Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 Popularly, known as the Anti-rape Act, amends the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP), 1973, the Indian  Evidence Act (IEA), 1872 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, (PCSO), 2012.



Against the backdrop of the nation-wide outrage over the tragic Delhi gang-rape, Nirbhaya (Fearless) incident of December 16, 2012, propelled the Government of India (GOI) to drive the issue of violence against women (VAW) to the centre-stage of political discourse. Consequently, on December 22, 2012, GOI appointed a three-member judicial committee headed by the former Chief Justice of India, Justice J.S. Verma.

Based on some of the recommendations of the Justice verma Committee (JVC) report, an antirape Ordinance was enacted and signed by the Honourable President of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee on February 03, 2013. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, passed in the Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha2 respectively on March 19 and 21, 2013) replaced the promulgated Ordinance, which lapsed on April 04, 2013. However, as per the Gazette Notification New Delhi, Tuesday, April2, 2013,3 the word 'bill' has been replaced by the word 'Act'.


Changes in law

Section 370 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been substituted with new sections, 370 and 370A which deals with trafficking of person for exploitation. If a person:

(a) recruits,

(b) transports,

(c) harbours,

(d) transfers, or

(e) receives, a person, by using threats, or force, or coercion, or abduction, or fraud, or deception, or by abuse of power, or inducement for exploitation including prostitution, slavery, forced organ removal, etc. will be punished with imprisonment ranging from at least 7 years to imprisonment for the remainder of that person's natural life depending on the number or category of persons trafficked. Employment of a trafficked person will attract penal provision as well.

The most important change that has been made is the change in definition of rape under IPC. Although the Ordinance sought to change the word rape to sexual assault, in the Act the word ' rape' has been retained in Section 375, and was extended to include acts in addition to vaginal penetration. The definition is broadly worded with acts like penetration of penis, or any object or any part of body to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of another person or making another person do so, apply of mouth or touching private parts constitutes the offence of sexual assault.

The section has also clarified that penetration means "penetration to any extent", and lack of physical resistance is immaterial for constituting an offence. Except in certain aggravated situations the punishment will be imprisonment not less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. In aggravated situations, punishment will be rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

A new section, 376A has been added which states that if a person committing the offence of sexual assault, "inflicts an injury which causes the death of the person or causes the person to be in a persistent vegetative state, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean the remainder of that person's natural life, or with death. In case of "gang rape", persons involved regardless of their gender shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to life and shall pay compensation to the victim which shall be reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim. The age of consent in India has been increased to 18 years, which means any sexual activity irrespective of presence of consent with a woman below the age of 18 will constitute statutory rape.

Certain changes has been introduced in the CrPC and Evidence Act, like the process of recording the statement of the victim has been made more victim friendly and easy but the two critical changes are:

  1. the 'character of the victim' is now rendered totally irrelevant, and
  2. there is now a presumption of 'no consent' in a case where sexual intercourse is proved and the victim states in the court that she did not consent.



The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 has been strongly criticised by several human rights and women's rights organisations for not including certain suggestions recommended by the Verma Committee Report like, marital rape, reduction of age of consent, amending Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act so that no sanction is needed for prosecuting an armed force personnel accused of a crime against woman. The Government of India, replied that it has not rejected the suggestions fully, but changes can be made after proper discussion.



The change made in the Act incomparison with the Ordinance is listed as Follows:




Acid attack

Fine shall be just and reasonable to meet medical expenses for treatment of victim, while in the Ordinance it was fine up to Rupees 10 lakhs.

Sexual harassment

"Clause (v) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature" has been removed. Punishment for offence under clause (i) and (ii) has been reduced from five years of imprisonment to three years. The offence is no longer gender-neutral, only a man can commit the offence on a woman.


The offence is no longer gender-neutral, only a man can commit the offence on a woman.


The offence is no longer gender-neutral, only a man can commit the offence on a woman. The definition has been reworded and broken down into clauses, The exclusion clause and the following sentence has been removed "or watches or spies on a person in a manner that results in a fear of violence or serious alarm or distress in the mind of such person, or interferes with the mental peace of such person, commits the offence of stalking". Punishment for the offence has been changed; A man committing the offence of stalking would be liable for imprisonment up to three years for the first offence, and shall also be liable to fine and for any subsequent conviction would be liable for imprisonment up to five years and with fine.

Trafficking of person

"Prostitution" has been removed from the explanation clause.






Section 120


Concealing design to commit offence punishable with imprisonment.

Section 120-A and B


Definition of criminal conspiracy and Punishment of criminal conspiracy.

Section 141


Unlawful assembly.

Section    146 and 147


Rioting and Punishment for rioting.

Section 169


Public servant unlawfully buying or bidding for property.

Section 171-B



Section 279


Rash driving or riding on a public way

Section 295


Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class

Section 298


Uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to hurt the religious feelings of any person.

Section 300



Section 304-B


Dowry death.

Section 307


Attempt to murder.

Section 317


Exposure and abandonment of child under twelve years, by parent or person having care of it.

Section 369


Kidnapping or abducting child under ten years with intent to steal from its person.

Section 372


Selling minor for purposes of prostitution, etc.

Section 373


Buying minor for purposes of prostitution, etc.

Section 378



Section 375



Section 376


Punishment against rape.

Section 383



Section 390



Section 397


Robbery, or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt.





This is a sworn statement made by a party, in writing, made in the presence of an oath commissioner or a notary public which a used either in support of applications to the Court or as evidence in court proceedings



The maintenance given by a husband to his divorced wife.

Amicus curiae


Translated from the Latin as 'friend of the Court'. An advocate appears in this capacity when asked to help with the court by the Court or on volunteering services at the Court.



Settling disputes by referring them a independent third parties as an alternative to court proceedings.

Audi alteram


This is a rule of natural justice which translates from the Latin as 'hear the other side ?or? hear both sides?.



To dispose of personal property by Will.



Where it is apprehended that an opposite party may file a case, a party may file a document requesting the court that no order be made in the case without hearing the caveator.

Cognizable offence


An offence in which arrest can be made without a warrant.

Dasti Notice


Dasti is a persian word, which means 'by hand'. Dast Notice means service of the notice by the Petitioner on the Respondents(s) in person, and not by the Registry through post.



The formal expression of an adjudication which, so far as regards the Court expressing it.



A legal principle that bars a party from denying or alleging a certain fact owing to that party's previous conduct, allegation, or denial.

Habeas Corpus



A writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person's release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention.

In pan delicto


When both the parties are equally in fault.

Interim Order


Any order by a court before a final order is made.

Interlocutory Application


Petition seeking a relief even while the main petition remains in the Court.


A person who is not a party to the proceedings may, with the permission of the court, intervene if it is shown that the outcome of the case will affect such person in some way.


Any person against whom a decree has been passed or an order capable of execution has been made;

Judicial Review

A term that describes the function of the judiciary being able to examine and correct the actions of all the organs of State-the executive, the legislature and the judiciary itself.


A matter is justiciable if it lends itself to adjudication by a court. This is determined by criteria laid down in law.


The totality of the legal proceedings in any dispute.       

Locus Standi

Translated from Latin as 'place of standing', locus standing gives the right to pursue a litigation. Under this rule, only a person or group of persons affected by the issue may petition the Court.


A codified law made, as a temporary measure, by the President of India or the Governor of a State when the Parliament or legislature of a state is not in session.



This occurs when a person gives false evidence or false affidavit in a case.



A written document filed in a court asserting a claim or a right and seeking relief on legal grounds.



A collective noun for all the petitions, affidavits, replies, rejoinders drafted by or on behalf of the parties to a case.    

Prima facie


At first sight; on the face of it.

Pro bono Publico


Translated from the Latin as 'for the public good'. In PIL, this refers to a petitioner acting bonafide in the public interest.



A party against whom a petition is filed. A proforma respondent is a party against whom no relief is sought.

Stare decisis


The principle that decisions of Courts in previous cases must be followed in subsequent cases of similar nature.



A codified law that is enacted by the Parliament or a State Legislature.  

Stay Order


A party filing a petition may require some immediate relief, even before the respondents can be heard or a final decision given.

Suo Motu


The Court may take action on its own when facts requiring legal intervention reach its notice. The Court is then said to be acting suo moto.



One that law regards as never having taken place.

Vox populi


Translated from the Latin as 'the voice of the people'.



A writ is a direction that the Court issues, which is to be obeyed by the authority/person to whom it is issued.

Writ Petition


A petition seeking issuance of a writ is a writ petition.


Juvenile Justice Act 2015

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 of Ministry of Women and child Development came into force on 15th January 2016. This is an Act to consolidate and amend the Law relating to children in need of care and protection, by catering to their basic needs through development, treatment, and social re-integration, by adopting a child-friendly approach. This Act enhances the lime and punishment for sale of tobacco products to minors. The Law for underage offenders also would Rave the way for trying those between 16 and 18 years of age, accused of heinous crimes as adults, punishable with a jail terms of upto 7 years.



Notes - Judiciary

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